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[GDC 2012] Hands-on with Spacetime Studios upcoming MMORPG called Dark Legends

Spacetime Studios were on hand at GDC 2012 showing off their upcoming MMORPG for Android called Dark Legends. Let it be known right now this is not the Twilight type of vampire in this game with the whole sparkly drama filled emotional wreck the movies are. Instead, this game contains more of the True Blood type of vampire.

Blood. There is blood in this game and there is a lot of it. Not only is it important to your character in a few ways, blood is also splashing on the floors, walls and even onto your screen throughout the game. There is a lot of blood in other words. We got a chance to sit down and play a couple of missions in Dark Legends and right away, this is nothing like Spacetime Studios has done before. This will be for a more mature audience that is for sure.

Questing layout is a bit different then what you might be used to from previous Spacetime titles. You will be treated to maps that have a variety of points on them, missions if you will, some of which can be instance missions where you will be watching a quick 3D cut scene, generally filled with blood, while other missions will be a dungeon run type of gameplay that, if you have played any type of MMORPG title, you should be familiar with. Lots of monsters to kill with a boss at the end.

You can zoom in or out from your character depending on how you like to play your MMOs. There are a couple of unique features in Dark Legends I got to experience first hand. First, health and mana (mana being the usual power you use to cast spells and abilities) are combined into one. This is because is any real vampire game, and in shows and the lore of vampires, their power comes from blood as well as their health. This has been implemented into the game which adds a really unique dynamic to everything because as you use your abilities, it takes away from your actual health.

The ‘Charge’ feature is another unique gameplay aspect of Dark Legends. You normal attack can be charged by long pressing on that on-screen button and then when you release it, you will launch a high powered normal attack. This also translate over to your special abilities as well as you can also charge those to deliver a stronger attack. Of course all of this drains your health which bring us to the next feature, feeding.

During combat, you will have a skull located on the right of your screen. When that fills up you are able to tap it which will make your character charge the closest enemy, jump on them and essentially rip their throat out after you have your fill of their blood. This replenishes your health although, in a bind, there are potions you can use as well. Of course the action of feeding off of your enemy is laden with plenty of blood. Combat will really feed into your need to see limbs and heads flying everywhere as well as you are hacking at your enemies.

When it comes to picking your skills, the skill tree is not class specific like in previous titles. For example, in Pocket Legends, if you want to be a warrior you created a character that is a warrior class. If you wanted to also play as a mage, you would have to create another character. In Dark Legends, the skill tree is not class specific anymore. If you want to roll as a warrior type of vampire, you just place your skill points into those abilities. If you want to switch it up and be more of a caster type of class, you can re-spec those points and put them into the abilities that fit a magic user.

Character differentiation is through the use of costumes and other vanity goodies. There are whole outfits available or your can piece together your own with various clothing that are also available. There is lots of that too. For the MMO factor regarding social play, there is a club you can hang out at where other players will be. For dungeon running, when looking at a map, there will be notifications showing you how many of your friends are currently online and running any specific dungeon area. From there you can jump right in and join them.

The gameplay is quite fast-paced when running the dungeon style missions. There are plenty of enemies swarming you, blood splattering everywhere, limbs flying all of the place. This is definitely a game that breaks away from the mold of what Spacetime Studios has previously released. Everything about Dark Legends is different including the characters and monsters which are definitely not a simple re-skinning of Pocket Legends or Star Legends. It is a completely new style of game all the way around.

Dark Legends uses an energy mechanic found in social games but it doesn’t exploit it to the point most social games do. While running dungeons does cost energy, if you happen to run out of energy there is still plenty to do in the game while waiting for it to refill. The quick missions that show you the cutscenes do benefit your character as well as progress their storyline. Some of them have a timer as well in which you can eat as many people as you can while the timer is going. You will also basically have player housing in Dark Legends which is your own little area you can hang out in and tweak your character.

Overall Dark Legends was quite fun to play, hectic at times (in a good way) and the change from their previous titles really makes this title one to look forward to if you like bloody and violent action MMORPG type of games. Currently Dark Legends is slated for release next month and will be offered up on Amazon’s App Store as a two week exclusive before landing on the Android Market. It ran smoothly on the Android devices we played it on including the Kindle Fire.

Official Website: Dark Legends

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